Colombian Exports Fall to Nine-Year Low Amid Oil and Coal Slump

  • Exports fell 37% from a year earlier to $1.84 billion
  • Result was lower than all 12 forecasts in Bloomberg survey

Colombian exports slumped to their lowest level since 2007 in January, as prices fell for the Andean nation’s oil, coal and coffee.

Exports fell 37 percent to $1.84 billion from the same period in 2015, the national statistics agency said in a report published Thursday. The result was lower than all 12 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of analysts, whose median estimate was $2.23 billion.

Colombia’s current account gap and fiscal deficit are its biggest vulnerabilities, Fitch Rating’s Managing Director for Colombia, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean said Thursday in Bogota. The trade deficit is running at more than $1 billion a month, helping to push the peso to a record low last month and driving up inflation.

Oil and mining exports fell 47 percent to $844.5 million in January, while food, drink and agricultural exports fell 31 percent and manufactured goods dropped 18 percent. The current account deficit widened to 6.2 percent of gross domestic product last year, according to an October forecast from the International Monetary Fund, which would be the highest among major Latin American economies.

The central bank has said it will auction foreign exchange call options when the peso weakens 3 percent or more from its 20-day moving average, compared with a previous level of 5 percent. The currency strengthened 3.8 percent over the past week, to 3,193.98 per dollar, paring its drop in the last year to 20 percent.

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